Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Geron Weighs Biotime Bid for hESC Biz
Geron, Inc., of Menlo Park, Ca., said today it is assessing an offer by two of its former executives to buy the human embryonic stem cell program that it abandoned nearly a year ago.
Geron startled the stem cell world, including the $3 billion California stem cell agency, when it jettisoned the first clinical trial of an hESC therapy for financial reasons. The agency had loaned the company $25 million just a few months earlier. Geron repaid the loan with interest.
Geron has been mum until today about the Oct. 18 offer by Biotime, Inc., of Alameda, Ca., which is headed by Michael West, who founded Geron in 1990. Tom Okarma, president of Geron from 1999 to 2011, is involved with West on the deal and is now working at Biotime.
Geron's remarks came during a conference call on its third quarter earnings. A spokesman said the company is working with Biotime to “assess the feasibility” of the proposal. He said the proposed transaction is complex and the company is seeking “additional important details.”
The spokesman declined to offer any additional comments on the Biotime proposal when questioned following his initial statement.